TRAVEL THERE: DRAMATIC DEPARTURE FROM BUDAPEST, HUNGARY
After our shore excursion to the Szchenyi Thermal Baths we were transported back to the Viking Tor on one of Viking’s buses. Transforming myself from a well-pruned spa goer to an elegant river cruiser was somewhat of a challenge, but I made it.
6:15, Time to Party
Each day the Viking Daily would let us know the day’s schedule. Cocktail Hour always began at 5:30, but since they served us more wine than we should’ve been drinking at dinner, we didn’t join the die-hards ordering martinis and whiskey neat. However, on the night of the Budapest Sail-Away, the Viking Daily announced “A Toast to Our Guests” and since that usually means champagne, we made sure to be there. I love champagne.
We found our new cruise buddies in the Lounge. They’d also been to the baths that afternoon. We settled into a section with enough seats for six of us and then helped ourselves to the flutes of champagne passing by us on trays. Our Captain was from Bratislava and while he could speak English, none of us could understand it. I bet he hates having to do that.
Soon the Welcome Toast was over, but fresh flutes kept coming around. Next on the agenda was the Daily Briefing. Program Director Daniel was fluent in English and excellent at charging up the crowd for rave reviews about the day’s activities. Then he’d fill us in on what the next day would hold, along with any logistical details we needed to know. By seven we were released to the Restaurant.
Sail-Away on the Sun-Deck
On the evening before, Bill and I had taken a stroll along and across the Danube. We’d seen just how dramatic the landscape looked with the major buildings all lit up and we were excited to see what it would look like from the middle of the Danube aboard our longship. Theoretically, there was commentary being given, but what I remember was a lot of laughter and a good dose of exclamations as the dramatic vista passed before us.
We’d started the evening with a champagne toast, drank our fill of wine at dinner and then were given shots of schnapps up on the Sundeck to celebrate the Sail Away. Definitely a case of alcoholic overload.
I assure you there was plenty to oooh and aaah about. Budapest is a lovely city and after dark it is an absolute wonder. With perhaps the exception of a light show at Luxor, Budapest gleaming in the night is one of the most spectacular evening scenes I’ve ever viewed. If you decide to take this cruise, be sure to start in Budapest. Viking runs it both ways, but there is no way a Sail Away in Passau could compare with Budapest.
I’ll leave you with some photos of the Sail Away. Plan on coming back next week for Bratislava.